As the NCAA men's basketball tournament officially opens today, The New York Times
delves into the widening revenue/spending chasm between the “Power 5” football conferences and everyone else in Division I. The conclusion: even though UC and UConn remain competitive in the American Athletic Conference and Xavier and Villanova remain high-profile in the basketball-only Big East, the split between college sports' haves and have-nots threatens to destroy the basketball tournament's appeal.
says “an instructive, if imperfect, analogy” of the widening split is illustrated by the University of Cincinnati and the University of Louisville, only 100 miles apart.
“Each has a respected basketball pedigree, and both are former members of the Big East,” Marc Tracy writes. “But when the old Big East broke apart a few years ago, scattering members into new leagues, Cincinnati landed in the American, and its budget indicated that it planned to spend a hair over $6 million on men’s basketball last year. By contrast, Louisville, seen by Southern football powers as an enviable rival, landed in the A.C.C., and it spent more than $12 million on men’s basketball in 2014, the last year for which figures are available.”
“I don’t see how all of that revenue they get for football is neutral for basketball,” Commissioner Amy Huchthausen of the America East Conference is quoted as saying. “It doesn’t all get spent on football. It gets spent on the whole athletics program.”
UC and Xavier both open NCAA Tournament play tomorrow night.
Read the full New York Times